[from Johann Tauler (1300 - 1361)]

Tauler was a disciple of Meister Eckhart (1260 - 1328), the great genius of German mysticism. Eckhart's wisdom is more accessible in Tauler. In the passage below, everything moves along in a fairly predictable way until it spins in your direction in the last line. It is a penetrating insight: our addictions, neuroses, fixations and ingrained habits carry us along in a passive state until the day we get the grace to pick them up and carry them on our shoulder. We will surely wobble a lot, and we will win no races, but it will be the most graceful movement in the world.

   Children we should not forget that the sick man whom our Lord healed at the pool had lain there for very many years. This sick man was created not for death but for the glory of God. Oh, if only we could possess the depths of our souls in true patience, just as this sick man waited for thirty years for God Himself to come and heal him and tell him to walk! How different from this are the people who make their first beginning in the spiritual life and then give it all up because wonderful results are not produced immediately, and complain against God as if He had done them an injury. How few people there are who possess this excellent virtue, who can wait and endure and stay as they are, suffering sickness and bondage and temptation until the Lord Himself sees fit to heal them. Truly, this is why He does not tell them to get up and walk and take up their beds and be cured. If we would only endure the imprisonment of this world, never seeking to escape until the Lord Himself sets us free, what a splendid thing that would be, dear children, what strength and mastery it would bring us. Then indeed the Lord would say to us "Stand up." We would no longer lie there helpless, we would escape from all our imprisonment, we would be unbound, set free, at liberty to walk away, and we would truly take up our beds, for we should now have the power and strength to pick up and carry the thing that was carrying us before.   

In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.